Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Tokyo Verdy  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Emperor’s Cup JFA 98th Japan Football Championship round 16 match against Tokyo Verdy

We made it difficult for ourselves from mid-way through the match today. We had a good start to the match and we fought in a good form by controlling the play. However, because of the sense that the match was under our control, it prevented us from forming a defensive block against our opponent team. Furthermore, when our players had the ball in our possession, they were trying to pass the ball towards the center more than necessary. For this reason, we ended up losing the ball to our opponent players several times. As a result, our opponent had created four decisive moments during the first half of the match.

After half time, our team corrected the issues and we were able to control most of the second half of the match just like we did during the first 20 minutes of the match. By doing so, we were able to stop our opponent team from creating any further opportunities not to mention we were able to score a goal ourselves. In the end, we made good development and we could have finished the match with even a bigger margin.

Questions and Answers
Q: Your opponent team had tried to score goals seven times in a row during the first half of the match. Furthermore, there were times when Urawa Reds’ players couldn’t even get to the opponent’s penalty area. When playing soccer, players come across many different situations. When they face a situation like the one they did today, I trust they must change it by themselves. With this in mind, what kind of things do you expect from your players?

A: I believe this all comes down to their concentration. When they had the match in control, they must have become over confident. When they thought they could win the match any time, the match started to roll out in favor of Tokyo Verdy as their players had intended and they created many scoring opportunities.

Q: What did you want your players to do during the first half of the match?

A: They needed to go back to their defensive block properly as the space on the sides, especially the left side, was wide open. For that reason, I had Muto who has good volume of momentum on the left as a defender and Fabrício on the right. I also thought it was necessary for the team to avoid passing the ball to the center circle as much as possible as there are a few risky spots where our opponent players could take the ball away from us. Obviously, I am not suggesting that we should not be utilizing the area when we wage attacks against our players. However, as our players were passing the ball towards the center often, our opponent players created four critical opportunities in a row during the first half of the match.

Q: Makino was not a member today. What is his current condition like and what was the reason you decided not to have him as a member today?

A: I didn’t choose him to be a member today as his ankle was quite swollen. However, I think his condition will recover in time for our weekend match. Since he has soreness and swelling, I avoided taking any risks. Had today’s match been a final match, I would have selected him to play in reality. I want him to recover well for our weekend match.

Q: There have been a number of matches where Ogiwara was introduced into the team towards the end of the match. I trust that he has a weapon of some sort. What do you expect from him?

A: Ogiwara is a talented player. He has a talent which is essential for a soccer player. However, as he is still very young, I am giving him the chance to build up experience little by little. He has been gaining experience by participating in matches in small steps.

He has been following rules and our tactics well and things have been working out well so far. As this is the case, he will be an important member of Urawa Reds as long as he can continue to do so.

Q: I was expecting that we would see a few more different starting members other than Makino today as the team has played a number of matches recently. However, Makino was the only one who was replaced, what was the reason for this?

A: Since today’s match outcome decided whether we would be in with the chance of winning the Cup title or not, I selected the members that could win the match. Certainly, I take the numbers of matches we play into consideration. However, I asked some of them to continue to play by assessing their recovery conditions. I had confidence in them to be able to play today’s match.

Q: Players did not move vigorously when they didn’t have the ball during the first half and until sometime into the second half. However, by having Hashioka joining the team, the whole situation seemed to have changed drastically. What do you think of this drastic change in the team members mind?

A: This may have a little to do with their mentality. When playing a game, what they do becomes a routine. Once this becomes the case, players start to be worn out psychologically. As a result, some may start to ease down a little. But, when the team loses momentum as a whole or as a small group, it becomes difficult for the team to work together to wage attacks. Working in coordination with each other is crucial not only for offensive but also defensive moves. The team was not able to carry out good defense from mid-way through the first half of the match today.

I want our players to deepen their understanding of the importance of organized play and movements for both offensive and defense so that they can improve themselves on these points. By doing so, I trust that the negative gap that we had between good performances today can be eliminated.

Q: Fabrício’s middle-range shot was extraordinary. Japanese players tend to be hesitant to fire out a shot like that when they are indecisive about their moves. When the team can increase the number of kicks like that, opponent defense players will come to the front line thus creating a space at the back that can be utilized. What do you think of this?

A: This is a very important point. When a team has a player like him, that would encourage other members of the team to play more confidently. One brave performance will be infectious and will be transmitted amongst the team. We have talked about Hashioka and Ogiwara earlier. Aged around 18 and 19, they are still very young. However, they are brave players. I think Ogirawa sets a good example for the entire team as to how to play bravely with confidence.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Tokyo Verdy